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Home Theater Projector Shootout
Eight 1080p Projectors under $1500

Bill Livolsi, June 10, 2011

Vivitek H1081

The Vivitek H1081 follows on the heels of the impressive H1080FD, which was one of the first 1080p projectors under $1000. The H1081 aptly demonstrates that Vivitek has not lost its touch when it comes to making impressive, affordable projectors. The H1081's contrast and black level are great for dark-room use, while its whisper-quiet operation is appreciated in any small space. Bright cinema light output allows for large screen use or living room projection.

Pro:

  • Well-rounded projector
  • Best audible noise

Con:

  • 3x speed color wheel
  • Color accuracy
  • Lamp life

The Vivitek H1081's value proposition is not in any one feature, but a combination of many. The H1081 produces 795 lumens in Movie mode, which is a step above the Epson 8350, the Mits HC4000, and the Optoma HD20 if you need the extra light for large screens or ambient light issues.

Contrast is second only to the Optoma HD20, which ekes past the H1081 in three-dimensionality and overall impression of depth. The same goes for black level, where the two projectors are neck and neck. Overall, the H1081 and the HD20 are remarkably similar, though the two images have a distinctly different character to them; the HD20 appears more subdued and natural, while the H1081 has a more vivid aspect. It is not unpleasant, and with certain kinds of material (broadcast and animation, most notably) this slightly artificial character can be desirable. The other notable feature of the H1081 is its nearly silent fan, the quietest of any projector under review. Those contemplating a table mount will be happy to hear that--or not hear it, as the case may be.

On the other hand, color on the H1081 exhibits a subtle greenish cast, and the color controls feel less responsive than those of the competition. Adjusting tint can mitigate some of the effect, but not eliminate it completely. Once adjusted, this slight color tint is not noticeable except when viewing another projector side by side.

The H1081 also has the shortest lamp life of all the projectors, at 2,000 hours in Boost mode and 3,000 hours in Normal mode. Finally, the H1081 has a 3x-speed wheel, meaning it is more likely to cause rainbow artifacts than projectors with 4x-speed wheels. If you are sensitive to the rainbow effect, this could be an important consideration.

Previous Page
Viewsonic Pro8200
Review Contents: Introduction Acer H7531D BenQ W1100 BenQ W1200
  Epson Home Cinema 8350 Mitsubishi HC4000 Optoma HD20 Viewsonic Pro8200
  Vivitek H1081
Comments (14) Post a Comment
Desmond Posted Jun 11, 2011 12:44 AM PST
I was more interested how the W1100 compete with the HD20 for watching movies cuz the W1100 has a rebate going on and it sells for $999 right now
Sam Posted Jun 11, 2011 1:07 AM PST
Nice comparison review. I was wondering how these projectors compare to the Sanyo Z700/800 1080p machine? have things really moved on that much in terms of black levels etc in this entry level segment? or would the Sanyo still put up a decent fight?
Brian Posted Jun 13, 2011 6:48 AM PST
My thoughts confirmed.

The Mitsubishi HC4000 will be the replacement for my HC1500 in my dedicated, light controlled theater. I think there would have to be a remarkable step up in performance to a better projector, for me to spend more than the Mitsu's $1100-$1200 street price. Which I don't think will be the case.

Thanks for the shootout guys. You are an invaluable resource.
Frank Posted Jun 13, 2011 9:34 AM PST
Thanks a lot for this shootout. I was looking foward to it. Just two questions that were not answered.

Is the fan noise noticeable on any of those models? I want to replace an ageing InFocus that is as loud as a lawnmower and since my room is a litle small, I can't really hide the sound made by the projector.

Same thing with the heat output. I had to install AC to counter the heat from the projector and the computer, something I won't be able to do in the new room.

Thanks
patrick lilienthal Posted Jun 13, 2011 7:16 PM PST
I used to have a Panasonic AE2000 a few years back and love it, I'm now wondering how these current sub $1500 projectors compare? P.S. I'm currently looking at the Panny Ae4000 and Epson 8700UB but don't really know how significant this $2000 group is vs. sub $1500 group?
Jim Posted Jun 14, 2011 7:58 PM PST
How about that HD20, spotting those boys several years, a few bills, and still hanging on?
Chris Posted Jun 15, 2011 8:20 AM PST
Wonder what the failure rate is on the BenQ and Optoma models compared to the Mits and Epson? Not much value if the projector looks great today, but is in the shop tomorrow...
Dave Posted Jun 15, 2011 11:14 AM PST
Some have complained about the Epson with purple crush developing and one reviewer noted a blue crush in dark scene corners. So I am wary. Have not heard any problems about Mits. Shocker is original review here of Mits put up against $2000 Epson and wins in picture quality. Epson has better features and wins in dark scenes due to UB and free bulb til mid 2012 but still effectively $500 more. Course Mits is bare bones.
LUV Projector Central Posted Jun 17, 2011 12:31 PM PST
I wonder how far apart the HC4000 and AE4000 are on black level. I'm looking to upgrade from my AE900 (5,200 hours, 3 lamp changes, 6 cleanings and replaced the auto-iris once) and going DLP would be fine if the black level is better than the 900, otherwise it’s going to be the AE at $800.00 higher expense. Does anyone have experience with the HC against the AE4000 or the Epson 8700UB auto-irises on rolling credits against a black screen for instance?
David Gibbs Posted Jun 18, 2011 8:16 PM PST
Interested in the comments that are largely questions. Are these answered anywhere or are they rhetorical with no expectation of replies?
serwei Posted Jun 19, 2011 8:24 PM PST
Any rough gauge where infocus will place here? I understand they are priced out :p but so far my limited experience with a few infocus DLPs vs benq w10000 or canon's xeed or casio's is that infocus requires the least tweaking...
Ajay Posted Dec 7, 2011 3:04 AM PST
Which one is better BenQ W1100 or Optoma HD20 for a home theatre use?

What is the best deal going on at the moment in Australia ?
Matt Posted Feb 21, 2012 9:35 PM PST
Thanks for the review, I currently have a Elite Tension Electric 135"Diag. 16:9 Screen.

My question is that what projector would be best?

I am debating on Mitsubishi HC4000 vs Benq W1100.

Thanks in Adv.
Dee Posted Jun 17, 2012 8:32 AM PST
After reading the shortcut info. I think I am leaning towards Epsom power lite 8360. However can not find where the throw ratio is. I need 20 feet th screen. Anyone know if this will work My second choice is Mitsubishi hc4000 but it appears it is darker. I like the ability to watch in bit of ambient light. Ben q don't like the issue with the features. Please suggestions

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